HPE outfits Texas cleanroom with $10m of equipment

HPE has partnered with Texas A&M Uni's Engineering Experiment Station to create the HPE Enterprise Center for Computer Architecture Research, for advanced materials and photonics

Image of the centre from HPE's Youtube channel

The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), part of The Texas A&M University System, has announced the creation of the new Hewlett Packard Enterprise Center for Computer Architecture Research with a cutting edge cleanroom, made possible with a donation from Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

R Stanley Williams, former HPE Senior Fellow and nanotechnology pioneer, will lead the TEES HPE Center, as well as serve as the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chair professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University.

The ongoing rise of big data and the development of powerful analytical techniques that can efficiently evaluate the data will dramatically transform the way we live and work. Unlocking the value of this data will require computer architectures that are flexible and not bound by traditional designs.

The centre’s mission is to lead the way into this new world of data-driven computing architectures through academic-industry collaboration.

HPE donated research equipment valued at US$10.5 million. HPE also funded a $1m endowed chair position, which Texas A&M will match with a $500,000 contribution. These gifts will establish a leading-edge research capability and partnership with TEES dedicated to the study of advanced materials and photonics for innovative computer architectures.

“It typically takes three to four years of intensive effort and institutional support to acquire even one instrument that HPE just donated,” said Dr Arum Han, director of the AggieFab Nanofabrication Facility at Texas A&M and professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering. “Having five such high-end instruments coming to our cleanroom facility simultaneously is just absolutely amazing and is unheard of for any university cleanroom.”

Image inside the cleanroom from HPE's Youtube channel

Initially, the centre will focus on advanced materials fabrication and characterisation, future electronic devices, advanced photonics and novel computer architectures. The research will aim to achieve results that both expand knowledge and motivate the next generation of computer scientists and architects for the benefit of society.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “There is no other cleanroom in the state of Texas that has all five of the high-end instruments HPE is donating, and we plan to become a regional hub for next-generation nano- and micro-engineering. We owe tremendous appreciation to HPE CTO Mark Potter, whose vision for leveraging our joint assets will build a world-class laboratory and attract preeminent talent in the broad area of materials.”

“Texas A&M University has great traditions coupled with visionary leadership,” said Stan Williams, TEES Hewlett Packard Enterprise Center for Computer Architecture Research Director and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company Chair Professor. “This is the ideal environment to do something completely new in computing, untethered from legacy notions, and I am excited by the opportunities that I see.”

The centre occupies 25,000 sqft of space in the Giesecke Engineering Research Building (GERB). TEES also has contributed approximately $2m for renovations to GERB to support the new equipment and will hire three faculty in this area.

Among the equipment donated is a Clustex, used to deposit material layers on a wafer, a Titan Cubed Themis TEM Microscope, Helios SEM/FIB dual beam system, an ASM Atomic Layer Deposition tool, and a NanoLab 460F1 electron microscope.

“Researchers can now develop next-generation computer chips for more powerful but energy-efficient computing, integrated photonic devices and microsensors for biosensing/medical applications or better autonomous vehicles, or flexible electronic devices and micro/nanofluidic systems for continuous health monitoring or point of care diagnosis in remote settings,” explains Han.

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